Skip to main content

Full text of "[untitled] The American Historical Review, (1899-12-01), pages 354-356"

See other formats


Early Journal Content on JSTOR, Free to Anyone in the World 

This article is one of nearly 500,000 scholarly works digitized and made freely available to everyone in 
the world by JSTOR. 

Known as the Early Journal Content, this set of works include research articles, news, letters, and other 
writings published in more than 200 of the oldest leading academic journals. The works date from the 
mid-seventeenth to the early twentieth centuries. 

We encourage people to read and share the Early Journal Content openly and to tell others that this 
resource exists. People may post this content online or redistribute in any way for non-commercial 

Read more about Early Journal Content at 
journal-content . 

JSTOR is a digital library of academic journals, books, and primary source objects. JSTOR helps people 
discover, use, and build upon a wide range of content through a powerful research and teaching 
platform, and preserves this content for future generations. JSTOR is part of ITHAKA, a not-for-profit 
organization that also includes Ithaka S+R and Portico. For more information about JSTOR, please 

354 Reviews of Books 

influence (pp. 107-110), but, on the whole, it is plain that these chap- 
ters have not received the author's critical attention. Happily, the book 
can justify itself without them. 

The style is always simple and direct, and — despite the extreme com- 
pression and consequent occasional suppression of needed transitions — 
not without charm. Much of this necessary compression is accomplished 
with utmost skill (though it is provoking, when a single line more now 
and then would focus some important consideration that is left indistinct, 
to see five lines go to the probable time and place of the birth of Co- 
lumbus). A page suffices for the inter-colonial wars down to the final 
struggle, and probably a like sacrifice of military detail, or else a more 
scientific study of selected campaigns, might with profit have marked 
the treatment of other wars. The two-page summary of strategic con- 
ditions and problems in 1861 is admirable, but the skeleton campaigns 
that strew the next forty pages contain little not as vainly attempted in 
more elementary books. They have too little substance to be of value 
in themselves, and too much if their purpose is to illuminate political 
movements. Such a volume, it would seem, should either study strategy 
or let it alone. One more criticism, and a serious one, concerns the 
plan of arrangement. The preface and the table of contents promise a 
reasonable degree of grouping by topics, and the condensation of the 
narrative requires it ; but, though the author has apparently designed a 
compromise, in practice he never permits the logical sequence of events 
to impair the sanctity of intact presidential administrations. The re- 
sulting repetition adds no emphasis ; it blurs. 

It should be added that the illustrative material is abundant and of 
greater interest and value than that in any similar work. The eighty 
maps and tables and half of the hundred illustrations could hardly be 
bettered. The common-place pictures of public men, comprising the 
other half, lack any indication of their source, but are otherwise as good 
— and as bad — as text -books usually give. A conspicuous merit in me- 
chanical make-up is the good taste in indicating a change of subject by 
effective marginal catch -words instead of by startling and defacing black- 
cap headings of paragraphs. 

W. M. West. 

Calendar of State Papers, Colonial Series, America and West Indies, 
1681—1685. Edited by the Hon. J. W. Fortescue. (London : 
Eyre and Spottiswoode. 1898. Pp. lv, 828.) 
The records contained in this volume of the Calendar cover a period 
in which England had decided upon a more resolute policy toward the 
American colonies than she had hitherto pursued. This course was 
prompted by a clearer recognition of the rapid growth in their wealth 
and population. It would be difficult to say which was the more eager 
to enjoy the benefit of this growth — the English Exchequer, or the Eng- 
lish shopkeeper. Both looked upon the colonial opposition to being 
fleeced as the unreasonableness of refractory, or the disloyalty of rebel- 

Fortescue: Calendar of State Papers 355 

lious, subjects, which deserved to be punished, either by the revocation 
of ancient charters, or by imprisonment in the local or English jails, or 
by a summary suspension from the gallows. 

Throughout this volume there crops out that contempt for the pro- 
vincial, which is one of the striking traits of the English officer and 
soldier in the great French and Indian War and the War of the Revo- 
lution. It was very much as if the provincial, simply because he was a 
provincial, had no qualities which the Englishmen of those times held in 
respect. It is to be regretted that the present editor of the Calendar 
should have shown so plainly his sympathy with this feeling of the Eng- 
lish authorities in that age of extreme official superciliousness and gross 
official tyranny. Thus he characterizes the assertion of the agents of 
Massachusetts that Edward Randolph had received colonial aid in the 
performance of his duties as the king's collector, as a "lie." Massa- 
chusetts was a dynasty of the Saints, " under which truth did not flourish 
in high places." Cranfield is quoted with approval as saying that " Con- 
necticut and New Plymouth were as corrupt as Boston, and more 
ignorant," while the Rhode Islanders "were a mean and scandalous set 
of people." Not satisfied with the statement of Culpeper that North 
Carolina was the ' ' sink of America, ' ' the editor further blackens the 
reputation of that colony by declaring that it was a ' ' settlement of 
rogues. ' ' 

This volume of the Calendar alone is sufficient to show the thorough 
selfishness of the policy of the English government toward the American 
colonies. If there was an English community upon which the Navigation 
Laws bore with the weight of an iron hand, it was Massachusetts. The 
sterility of its soil and the harshness of its climate had compelled that 
colony, at an early date, to rely chiefly upon commerce and the carrying 
trade for prosperity. A rigid observance of these laws would have 
meant, if not the ruin of every interest of its people, certainly the partial 
destruction. It is not strange that they should have resisted, out of 
court and in court, the enforcement of foreign laws which worked so 
radically to their own damage ; that they should have threatened Ran- 
dolph, not only with imprisonment, but also with the loss of his life ; 
and that they should have gone so far even as to repair the fortifications 
of Boston to repel invasion. The only result of all this patriotic oppo- 
sition to the Navigation Laws on their part was, that they were stigmatized 
as rebellious, and were deprived of their charter. The true economic in- 
terest of the colony was not for a moment considered. 

The spirit exhibited in Massachusetts was to be seen in New Hamp- 
shire also. The energies of the people there were bent upon thwarting 
Randolph and his deputies. Not satisfied with this, they declined to 
recognize Robert Mason as proprietary, and they emphasized their oppo- 
sition to his claims by the use of gunpowder, hot water and spits. 
Edward Gove, who headed a serious uprising, enjoyed the distinction of 
transportation to England and imprisonment in the Tower. 

The selfishness and greed of the English government were shown in. 

356 Reviews of Books 

Virginia by its positive refusal to listen to the universal demand for a 
short cessation of tobacco-culture, as the only means of raising the price 
of that staple, which had now sunk so low in value as to paralyze every 
interest in the colony. The reason for this action of the government 
was, that the revenues of the King would be curtailed by the falling off 
in the volume of English imports, which would follow. The people de- 
termined to take the matter into their own hands. What is known as the 
' ' Plant-Cutters' Rebellion ' ' now occurred, one of the most curious pro- 
tests against the action of constituted authority recorded in American 
history. Suppressed in the day-time, the plant-cutting went on by night. 
Dropped by the men in fear of punishment, it was taken up by the 
women. So general was the movement in Virginia, that soldiers were 
posted on the Maryland side of the Potomac to prevent the spread of the 
infection into that province. As every pecuniary interest of the colonies 
was made to lead into the channel of the King's revenues, it appears 
entirely characteristic that the ring-leaders of the rebellion should have 
been hung for treason, because in destroying the tobacco, they were cut- 
ting down the royal income by reducing the volume of English imports. 
There is something whimsical in the complaint of Culpeper, who 
wrote, when displaced from the governorship, "what the wit of man can 
expect of a governor of Virginia beyond peace and quiet and a large crop 
of tobacco, I know not. ' ' In spite of this state of affairs, we find the 
House of Burgesses, a short time afterwards, in a protest against injustice, 
addressing the King in a manner that caused great indignation at White- 
hall. Such indignation, however, seems to have been always aroused 
there if the colonial victim failed to lick the hand raised to appropriate 
its revenues. 

Philip Alexander Bruce. 

The Family of William Penn, Founder of Pennsylvania : Ancestry 
and Descendants. By Howard M. Jenkins. ( Philadelphia : 
The Author. 1899. Pp. x, 260.) 

In compiling The Family of William Penn Howard M. Jenkins, than 
whom there could be no one better equipped for such a congenial task, 
has made an important contribution to the not over-cultivated field of lit- 
erature devoted to the founder of the great Quaker province. What the 
author set out to do, and has done very well and exhaustively, was to trace 
both the ancestry and the descendants of Penn, as well as to give us not 
a few data anent the Founder himself. He modestly disclaims any in- 
tention of dipping into history or biography, yet it is but just to say that 
he has produced something that will inevitably interest the historian and 
enlist the attention of even the most phlegmatic genealogist. In short, 
Mr. Jenkins has displayed so much freshness of spirit and energy (vir- 
tues which go not always with this class of work) and he has put to- 
gether a mass of facts in so orderly and comprehensive a form, that his 
book bids fair to become, and to remain for many years, the authority